Scars and Cuts made Beautiful… Elena Helfrecht
Human beings are so obsessed with aesthetics; we’ve developed entire industries to temporarily and permanently altering the appearance of our bodies, even though we know that it doesn’t change the fact that we all feel ugly. Our bodies collect that ugliness as a mark of experience – the scars, cuts, bruises, fat, hunched postures and weak bellies that signal that we have lived to escape death. Elena Helfrecht captures human ugliness, not in a voyeuristic, freak show kind of way, but with a deep understanding that our imperfections are what make us beautiful individuals. Her photos show the fragility of life and the inevitability of death, juxtaposing humanity with nature in a way that makes us a part of its tableau, despite our best efforts to distance ourselves from it. There is a deep melancholy in her work, lurking in the shadows that are almost the subject of her images; but there is also a sense of calm acceptance and of true, unadorned beauty. We see scars that are self-inflicted and those that are from outside trauma, but she sees them as a continuation of the body, rather than something disrupting its otherwise unmarred surface. Helfrecht’s work invites us into a very intimate moment of belonging and understanding what it is to be in ourselves. She is currently showing as a part of the All dreams continue in the beyond group exhibition, ongoing until July 30th at Cell63 Gallery in Berlin, so if you are one of the lucky ones who lives in that amazing city, make sure to check out her very special work in person.